Monday, June 27, 2011

Update - June 27

First of all let me assure you all that we are fine. I had so idea I would make so many people worry by not posting on facebook. Chaz and I have been getting re-accustomed to outpatient life. We (I guess really me) had a small run in with WTB. We are trying to obtain a more permanent place to live with the next 60 days. We've been catching up with some friends, I got MRSA and we are getting ready for the event at the Kennedy Center tonight. What a crazy week?! Let's hope this week is a lot easier.

Chaz is doing great. He has been able to get some real rest, because no one gets any rest in a hospital. The antibiotics make him sleepy still, but it is getting better. He began walking again Thursday. He noted that his back has less pressure on it, so we're wondering how long that pocket of fluid was there. Regardless, it's gone and he feels better. I am back to being his nurse, which Deryn informed me last night that she will take care of Daddy's pic line when she gets here. Ryann just wants to snuggle and she said he can give him his pills. So that's the Monday morning catch up on Chaz.

Now for WTB, WTB is the Warrior Transition Brigade. What that means is they are supposed to help the injured soldiers transition back into the Army or out to the civilian world. Notice the key words "supposed to". Here's our experience with WTB. If you are a nurse case manager, or if your rank is Captain, Master Sgt or above you are capable of doing your job. Anyone below that you have to constantly stay on top of 24/7. This is how I work. I can do your job, I just choose not to. When you do not do your job, your boss and I have a chit-chat to discuss your incompetency and then you will do your job or we will find someone else. What these soldiers are going through is enough. They do not need any additional crap or red tape to deal with and neither do the NMAs (non medical attendants) and family members. So do your freaking job and act like you care about these guys! When you are so complacent in your job that you have no compassion, it is time for a job change, just saying?!

When we arrived back at WRAMC one of Chaz's Sargents yelled at me over the phone for not signing him back in off of con leave at 8am. First you will not call my cell phone and yell at me over anything and think for one second your phone call is going to be successful. Second, Chaz signing a piece of magic paper to say he has returned is not my priority, his health is. So I very nicely told this guy he could sign the paper, or bring it to Chaz's room and Chaz could sign it later. Then I informed that Chaz was fine and thanks for asking (which he didn't by the way) and that he was going to surgery in a few minutes to remove the atomic bomb from his back and to have a great day. I guess that piece of paper was signed because I did not receive one text, email, phone call or visit until Chaz was getting discharged. The same guy showed up at 2 to let us know the nurses had not contacted him yet and that Chaz had to be out of the hospital by 3 because WTB doesn't work past 3. I quickly responded that we did not required their assistance to leave and then asked, "Are you talking about the nurses that were at the desk 10 feet away from you?" He then said yes. I quickly told him I would take care of that. I left him in the room with Chaz and went out to the nurses to ask them about Chaz's discharge. A few minutes later his Sargent followed me out and I said, "Awesome, you need to be here for this. Your failure to communicate with the nurses is not my problem. I am tired of being the only adult who can speak around here. I need to go sign for the van I rented for Chaz to get around town in. When I return, Chaz and I are leaving, You guys figure out how that is going to happen. I really don't care and I am tired of being your mediator. You don't pay me enough to do it." Our 101st LNO grabbed my arm and asked if I was ok and I told him no, that I needed air and a beer. So I left and signed for the van and vented to my Dad for a minute. When I returned I discovered our LNO had a very nice talk with Chaz's Sargent. I only wish I could have been there. We did leave at 3 and we've been doing well ever since. I did get in trouble again on Thursday because I let Chaz sleep and he didn't call in at 730 to tell them he was alive (no I am not making that one up). The guy called me 9 times in 5 minutes, which I didn't even know was possible. I assured him he was alive and I chose to let him sleep since I am his NMA and rest and fluids are the best medicine. And yes Chaz has called everyday since.

Now as for the apartment, we met with the Fairy Godmother of WRAMC Friday and I believe we'll be in our apartment soon. I really hope we'll have a date soon. WTB didn't even put us on the list until the end of May, UGH! But it will get done, trust me! Major Crum (our nurse case manager who is freaking awesome) is making sure we get an apartment asap. Once again proving my theory about rank and the WTB.

We are so blessed to have such great friends and we have really enjoyed catching up with everyone. We have even more catch up dates ahead. I am so happy we have been able to do this. We miss our Clarksville peeps, but at least we've been able to make some great new friends here as well. It helps us not miss home so much!

I really don't know if I have MRSA or not. I am not patient enough to wait for test results. Chaz has had MRSA for long time and I am not willing to risk my health. I have a bump that presents like MRSA, a spider bite, an ingrown hair, a zit or a boil. All I know is it's gross and hurts. We all agreed I can't play it safe enough so antibiotics it is folks! I feel fine. I have been tired all week, but how could you not be when you are dealing with everything we NMAs go through.

Tonight Chaz and I are both speaking at the Kennedy Center. I have been asked to tell my story. Chaz is just going to say thanks to the trust. Yes I am super nervous, hello it's the Kennedy Center. But it is time people understand a little more about we wives go through. Unfortunately you do not know what we go through unless you have someone you know directly effected. I do not know why they chose me to do this. They told me it's because they want someone honest who smiles at the same time. Don't worry I'll give a full report tomorrow. Just please pray for us. Never less, we are going to enjoy every minute of tonight and soak it in. The Wounded Warriors Trust has some really great plans and they are just getting started. I'll write more about this later too!

Time to go attack Monday! Chaz has appointments and I have a bunch of phone calls to make! Hope you all have a great Monday.
=) Jessica

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chaz's Update - June21

Drain #1 was removed yesterday. Blood work revealed Chaz's kidneys are handling the antibiotic very well so infectious disease increased his does by 500mg. The Pic line team got his pic line in and that took a long time (they were training a new guy) but went very well. He received his first increase dose last night and his second dose this morning. Both went very well and he did not have a reaction.

Since he was able to get lots of rest this weekend he is feeling a lot better. So good in fact we'll be going out on pass as soon as they will let us today. We are waiting on drain #2 to clear up and then we'll be discharged. Home health has already been contacted so Chaz can be dismissed to me again. Since they trained me on his pic line for the first discharge, he will be discharged to me again and I'll care for his pic line and other medical needs. Home health will deliver our supplies and scripts to the Fisher House. Of course Chaz will still be going to WRAMC for appointments and therapies. Also the pic line tubing has to be changed once a week. I am not comfortable with doing that, so we'll go in or have home health take care of that piece for us.

We had another great day yesterday. We were visited by some great gentlemen and ladies yesterday. One from Sirius/XM radio, a Senator from FL, a Congressman from one of the Carolinas, and their staff members all hung out with us for a while. We highly enjoyed them. My apologies on not having their names. I left their cards in the hospital room and I am currently at the Fisher House. We were also visited by the Midwest City Chamber of Commerce from Oklahoma. By 5pm, we were beat. But it was a very, very good day. We are hoping Chaz will get cleared to go back to PT soon. We also hope that second drain comes out soon and they kick us out. We love Ward 57, but we'd rather be visitors instead of Chaz being a patient.

You now know all that we know! Keep us in your prayers. You can never have too many prayers going up, if you ask me! Thanks again for your support! I hope you all have a great day! I know we will!

Have a great day!
=) Jessica

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Chaz's Update - June 19

Chaz is doing very well. His back is sore and the antibiotics make him sleepy. Other than that, he is doing really well. Captain Cody came in this morning and told us that once the drains are clean then they'll remove them and then Chaz should be discharged shortly after that. The drains could be clear any day now so we are back playing the waiting game. Cody was very happy with how everything is looking. Chaz will still remain on the IV antibiotics for 6-8 weeks. But he should be done with surgery for a while.

We are so thankful for the staff of Ward 57 and WRAMC. These awesome people make everything so much easier. You know you can get through anything when you have awesome people on your team. We definitely have that.

I am going to get Chaz his favorite meal from Panera and get him a movie to watch to kill some more time.
We hope you all have a great Father's Day!
=) Jessica

Saturday, June 18, 2011

June 17 Surgery & Visit

We got the heads up a few days ago the Obama was coming when Executive Services asked for my social, birth date and other information. We did not know it was Friday until Thursday. We were told Chaz was having surgery Friday on Wednesday. Chaz's surgery is way more important than any visitor. We did try to get him in early or later, but we didn't have any luck. Chaz told me that it would be nice to meet Obama but he really didn't care and trust me Chaz didn't. I got Obama to sign his flag and I got him a challenge coin so Chaz was very happy yesterday. He was even more happy to have his lasagna when he got back to the room.

The OR called for Chaz about 2 hours before Obama arrived. I was in his room reading when I got called down the hall so the bomb dog could do his sweep and so we could be searched. You'll be happy to know the secret service does an excellent job and they are very nice. Then we were sent back to our rooms. Before Obama came to the floor we had to shut all of our doors. They didn't want him to be distracted. So I sat and read.

Ward 57's OIC (Officer in charge) Col Cassella almost made me cry before the President walked in. He said, "Sir, I know you like to meet the soldiers, but SSGT Allen is in surgery. His wife is here waiting on him and we told her to stay. Sir you will love Mrs. Allen as much as we do. She is such a delightful spirit. She constantly takes care of our nurses, which is very rare and she is setting the bar for wounded warrior wives." I heard him speak and thought holy crap, he's talking about me. Then before I could think another thought in walks Obama. I hear, "Jessica, I hear you are setting the bar for the wounded warrior wives." I said, "I heard that too, sir." I go to shake his hand and he says "Oh no I get a hug. I've heard from more than one source how great you have been." So I got a very big hug from President Obama. He then asked me how we were doing, asked if I needed anything and asked if I wanted to ask him anything. I told him, "I just want you to tell your wife thank you for everything she is trying to do for the military wives. Many people have talked the talk, but your wife is walking the walk. I've been doing this for 13 years now and your wife is a breath of fresh air." He then informed me that it's wives like me who she is targeting.

Obama then gave me a coin for Chaz and I asked him to sign the flag. Then he says, "I forgot to ask, do you have kids." Of course I tell him, "We haev two girls, Deryn is 8 and Ryann is 6". He then says, "Well we've got something else in common." He then says "Darien." I said "No sir Deryn." He says, "Darien is my assistant. Darien, make sure the Allen family gets a real tour of the White House." So there is hope for the rest of my crew to meet the first family.

Obama leaves the floor and I dart out of the hall to see about Chaz. He was still in surgery. So I went back to wait. Finally we got the call he was in recovery but they were going to keep him because his heart rate was high. My comment was well let's see you haven't let him eat of drink since midnight. I like to point out the obvious. So finally the gave him something to eat and some water and his heart rate went down. I love common sense medicine.

He got back up to the floor before 5 and of course was starving. The nurses had already eaten the lasagna, but left more that enough for us and I waited on him for dinner and we finally got to catch up. Yesterday was the longest I have been away from Chaz in a while so it was really weird and lonely. We had our little dinner date and then watched a movie on my laptop. He told me his favorite part was the great picture of me and Obama. He said at least one of us got to meet him, rather than neither of us.

Chaz's back looks very good. The doctors are pretty sure they got it all. They will be drawing blood everyday for the next few days to see how everything is working. His pic line will be going in today. That will be great because it only means one stick of the needle and he's done, rather than one stick every time they want some blood. Dr Stauss is very confident that this is the last surgery on his back for this incident. Infectious disease is very happy because they have so many samples they can really figure out what they are dealing with. Chaz still has 2 drains in, but at least one will come out Monday. He will remain on IV antiboditics for 6 to 8 weeks and then the pic line will come back out and hopefully we can try to go home again. Hopefully Monday we will get him up and moving and back on the road we were on. We had our road side stop and now it's time to get back to it.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers. We are almost through this hiccup, but we wouldn't be able to be this far without all of your prayers and support. Again thank you for everything.
Have a great day! =) Jessica

Friday, June 17, 2011

Jon Stewart and Other Visits

Yesterday was such a great day! Chaz felt great and we had so many people swing by our room I was questioned by security that evening. Our day started off with reuniting with some of our favorite nurses and staff. Then in comes our LNOs and Dick Winters. The 101st crew is just another addition to our family. They are amazing we love hanging out with them. Next up some great gentlemen from the Emerald Society of the DCFD. Chaz laughed with them forever. They were a hoot.

I went and grabbed lunch for everyone from the Fisher House. I made a pot of chili and cornbread. Nurses do not get enough pats on the back in our opinion so Chaz and I like to spoil them. Of course the cooking thing is Chaz's idea because he is not a fan of hospital food. Who can blame him right?! Regardless the nurses and staff enjoy it and we love taking care of them since they take such great care of us.

Our Fisher House friends, Laura and Leah, popped by to say hello. Then poof Howard from Executive Services appears with Jon Stewart, the USO crew, a guy who was having a concert at the Malogne House, and some guy who kind of creeped us all out who was plugging a movie. We still don't know who he is. Jon Stewart walks by my crock pot and says, "What is that awesome smell?" Chaz tells him I made chili for everyone. Jon looks at me with this pitiful look, looks at the chili, looks at me again. I then say, "Do you want some?" He says, "Seriously?" I say, "Heck yeah go for it." He grabs a bowl and spoon and digs in. Took one bite and says, "Dude this is some great stuff." Chaz says "Yeah the girl can cook." Of course at this moment I am 40 ft in the sky. We freaking love Jon Stewart! And there he is in front of me eating and loving my chili! WAHOO!! Then one of his guys disappears and reappears with movies for Chaz. We were both super excited about the new additions to our collection.

He hung out with us for awhile. We talked about Chaz's injuries, the girls, coming to New York and seeing his show, and then Jon and I had a side conversation about the IRS. He and I discussed that it is a bunch of crap that the average American cannot do their own taxes. We discussed how I run my business and talked about fixing the IRS. A girl can dream, right?!

Jon and his crew left us and went to visit others and then we got to meet two guys from the John F Kennedy warfare school. They were super cool. The aide, who's name I totally forgot, came to me later and complimented me on our strength and how he hoped he could be as strong as us if he was under similar circumstances. He was a really cool guy!

Then LT McCutcheon informs me she hasn't eaten yet and I can't have that, so I say oh I'll go get you a bowl. I come back out and said, "Hey Jon Stewart said he loved my chili. We need a pic of you and him and the chili" I didn't realize he was within ear shot of me. Jon Stewart then says, "Chili where?" He seriously came down the hall and tried to take her chili, it was hilarious. We convinced him to pose for a quick pic, which he was happy to do.

Things calmed down and I ran to get Chaz movies and food so I can cook again today. Chaz and I finally chilled out and caught up on the pretty freaking cool day we had! I love how amazing days can just happen! I know we have many more to come.
Hope you have an amazing day today!
=) Jessica

Thursday, June 16, 2011

June 15 Surgery

Chaz's surgery went really well. It took longer than expected because the infection had almost doubled in size and was very close to his spine and had gotten into his muscles. Dr Gordon (who I finally met and is super cool) and Dr Strauss are very confident they got it all. To make sure the attack is started off right they placed antibiotic beads in muscles which will also help his back heal. He also has 2 drains in his back as well.

Chaz will be going back to surgery Friday morning to make sure everything looks good and hopefully they will take him down to one drain or maybe no drains. Only time will tell. They have also ramped up his antibiotics. Last night I got a good scare because he got "red man syndrome" from the IV antibiotics. To me it looked like an allergic reaction. My family and friends know how reactions scare me. Some of them have witnessed my reactions. I get to carry an epi-pen my reactions are no joke. So I flew out into the hall and grabbed the first nurse and made them come in there. Turns out his IV was too small and they had too much going through the little IV too fast. Within minutes of stopping the drug, his swelling and redness went away. Then they shot him up with benedryl, changed his IV site and tried the drug again at a lower rate. That was the trick, no reaction that time. We really want him to have this drug according to his doc. He is taking his morning dose now and did not have a reaction to this round.

They are ordering him a pic line today. For those who are like me and totally don't understand, that is a line that can stay in for a longer term and delivers the drug more effectively and also they can draw blood off of it, so that means fewer sticks for Chaz. He's already had one and I have had the training on it so when he's cleared from surgery, he'll be discharged back to me for home care. I'm telling you the Army should give me a nursing license. I have gained so much medical knowledge since Jan 22.

So that's where we are! He is doing very well. He slept most of yesterday, which is to be expected. He was so thankful rideaway got me another van because he wanted a pina colada slushie thing from taco bell. So guess where I went once the van was delivered?! Today I am cooking a pot of chili for him with some cornbread. He already order his pancakes from room service. The man has his appetite so that's a great thing. He looks really good. Yesterday he was a little swollen because they had him face down in surgery for so long. But this morning he looks normal and you can tell he's better. He was ordering me around first thing. He says his back still hurts, but that's to be expected. He says it doesn't hurt enough for extra drugs, which is awesome.

Luckily when I told Chaz about the awesome work of Q108 MSGT Barnes, who is joining Chaz in the run, was there. So he got to witness the surprise. Chaz had me repeat the total again. Then that was followed with "no way". I pulled up his website and showed him that total and then Gretchen's text messages. He said "Well I guess we need the bike guy in here and I need to get moving for this race." And that's why I love this man! That was exactly what he needed to wake up to! Then the nurses came in to ask me if I had told him yet. Once I said yes they came in to tell them they are running with him. Pretty freaking great way to end the day, huh?!

Thank you again for all your text messages, email and facebook posts of support! They made my day a lot easier. Thank you for supporting us on our journey. God bless you all!
=) Jessica

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

No End In Sight!

Back in February someone said, "You better enjoy all this support because one day soon it will all be gone." I would like to bite my thumb at that person now (which in Shakespearean England was a big put down). I feel like the support for our family has only gotten stronger. I feel there is no end in sight.

The Team Allen facebook page was simply a way for me to get information out about Chaz without having a bunch of people I don't know in my personal business. Now it has taken on a life of its own. More new people "like" the page everyday. People are still buying T-shirts and now there are going to be car stickers and someone even has a tattoo. Over 300 people showed up to welcome Chaz home, over 200 were at the fundraiser. So to say the support is dying down is totally asinine. Then today Gretchen and Ryan take it upon themselves to help Chaz exceed his $500 goal for Team Fisher House. All of these examples serve as an reminders of how great people can be when they find something to believe in. I am so thankful to see that so many people believe in my husband.

Chaz has always been and will always be the love of my life and my best friend, but to see that other people can see how amazing he is truly incredible. I have always known how great he is. I feel like there are no real words to describe how great this experience is. I am just so thankful for everyone who is willing to help our family through this journey.

Everyday since January 22, we have been shown how amazing life truly is. Everyday I think back to the voice on the phone who asked, "Where will you be today, in case we have to notify you of your husband's death?" Then I think about what all Chaz has been through. It is so great that what could have been a tragedy has turned into nothing short of spectacular.  We have had little hiccups, like today's, all along the way, but for every hiccup something great comes right behind it. I can see immediately that today's great thing was Gretchen and Ryan helping us raise the money for the Fisher Foundation. I am so excited that Chaz and I can help pay the Fisher Foundation back for everything they've done for our family.

I know God still has so many more great things in store for us. I can't wait to see what's next! Thank you so much for your prayers and support.
=) Jessica

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What's Going On...

So we were asked to come back to WRAMC yesterday and report to Ortho at 8am this morning. Of course we get there and no one knew why we were there. Turns out only one Dr was tracking what is going on with Chaz. (This would be the mythical Dr Gordon, who we have failed to meet yet, so I will continue to refer to him as the Wizard of Oz.) He failed to share Chaz's info with the other ortho docs. So after over 2 hours of everyone trying to figure out what is going on, we go to wound care to get the wonderful Kara involved. We went back to Ortho and made plans to return at 12:30.

We go back at 12:30 and find out the rest of the Ortho team had finally been updated. So here's where we are. Chaz has a pocket of fluid in his back that is not going anywhere. For a while now he has had an open wound on his back and one on his groin. Those are fine but the one on his back is draining and has pus coming out of it. The pus showed that it is carrying some type of staph infection, but not MRSA or e-coli. He had both e-coli and MRSA in the past, so WRAMC is watching closely for that. The team has decided that fluid on his back could have the same staph germ and if it pops that could spell disaster. The solution, they are going in tomorrow morning and removing it and looking at the rest of his back and get this stuff under control. The MRI also showed a possible infection on his left hip. They are going to look at it as well. However his new X rays today showed nothing on his hip, so Dr Strauss and Dr Tracy (who will be in there operating on him) do not see his hip being an issue.

Chaz will be readmitted to Ward 57 at 3 today. His surgery is tomorrow morning. He is 3rd case which means they'll take him down about 7am and I'll see him after lunch sometime. He will stay in the hospital for about 1-2 weeks. Of course this all depends on how he heals and what they find tomorrow. Please know every medical procedure is a serious matter, but this one is not life-threatening. This is simply a hiccup that needs to be gotten under control as soon as possible. Chaz's docs and nurses are wonderful and they've got this. He will be up and moving again very, very soon. We ask that you please pray for these doctors and nurses so God blesses them even more. We ask that you pray for Chaz, that he will have a easy surgery and an even easier recovery.

Have a great day!
=) Jessica

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Chaz & I Are Going Back to WRAMC - June 13

Yes you read that correctly. We are returning to WRAMC on Monday. Wednesday I recieved the call that Chaz's MRI revealed another pocket of fluid collecting in his back. Unfortunately it will have to be surgically removed. No Ft Campbell and Vandy are not viable options. Chaz needs to be back at WRAMC. So we will fly out on Monday morning.

Veterans Airlift Command will be picking us up in Clarksville and flying us into Maryland. MSGT Barnes is picking us up when we land and getting us back to WRAMC. We have to be at the hospital at 8am Tuesday morning to get admitted for Chaz's surgery. This is not a life threatening or Chaz would have been taken up there immediately. However this is something that needs to be dealt with asap.
Trust me we know this is fustrating. We were not happy about it, but we know this is what we need to do for Chaz. You can imagine the words that came out of my mouth when they told me, they weren't very nice at first. This little hiccup does not mean Walter Reed is incompetent. It is an absolutely amazing hospital. If the results would have come back sooner then they would not have let us leave. This is how it needed to happen. Our family needed to come home. We've had a week long vacation and we were over due for it. We are not upset about it anymore, actually we got over it within minutes of finding out. We are choosing to look on the bright side. We got to come home to that awesome homecoming, fundraiser, our families and our friends and we've had a lot of fun. Now we've got to get back to business a little sooner than we'd like, but we know it's best.
No, we do not know when we'll be back. But we do know we will get our 30 days back. This was WRAMC's error, not ours so they are reinstating our full 30 days of convalscent leave at a later date. Chaz and I are excited about that. We got to come home have an incredible visit and chill out with our kids in our house and we know that within the next few months we'll get to do it again! Next time we will not leave until they run every test possible to make sure we don't have to go through this again. We hope that we can go back to WRAMC clear up this gunk in his back and get his new set of legs and make him a little taller. Also a bright side is when we get back it will be a little cooler and we'll be able to go and do more. Chaz should also have more practice with his legs and should be walking even more. Everything happens for a reason and in time we'll know why we have to go through all of this. Chaz's health is number one right now and WRAMC is the best place for him without a doubt.

We have decided to leave the girls in TN with my mom. Chaz will be back as an inpatient and we do not know how long. Hospitals are not good places for adults much less children so we decided the girls should stay here and enjoy their summer with their friends rather than being bored at WRAMC and waiting, waiting, waiting. I am blessed with one amazing mom. As soon as I told her she immediately came to the rescue for us. I do not know when I will bring the girls back to DC. I am going to wait and see what is going on with Chaz and wait until he's ready for them to come back. He and I agree they should enjoy their summer with their friends. My mom can provide that for them. Right now Chaz and I have to stay focused on his health. It is really hard to focus on Chaz when the girls want to go, go, go. They should be able to do that. It is not fair to them to be bogged down with all this. Chaz and I want to let them be kids. They've had to grow up enough already. We refuse to let this effect their childhoods. Don't get me wrong it will kill us to board that plane without them, but we know we are doing what is best for them.

We ask that you please respect our decisions and please give us space this weekend. Chaz and I just want to enjoy our girls before we have to leave them behind again. To me, the best decisions are usually the hardest ones. These decisions have come with many tears, but before we know in time this too will pass. We just have another little hiccup to get past. It probably won't be our last and it is a little one. We have to be thankful for what we have and for what will come. We are already passed 4 months in this journey and look at what we've already accomplished! More great things are in store for us. We will see you when we return. Please, please, please continue to pray for our family. Your prayers and support are what gets us through this journey.
=) Jess

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Our Day!!

I've had many people ask me what goes on now that we're home and away from the hospital. So here's goes.
I still get up at 6, I doubt that will ever change. I shower and then consume my first delicious Chai for the day. Then I go upstairs to set the bathroom up for Chaz for when he gets up. I also make sure his wheelchair, legs, shower chair, clothes and what ever else he may need are within reach. Once he is up and moving I give him his am meds and check and change the bandages on his open wounds. Then we get his legs on and I walk down the stairs in front of him. Then I run back up stairs for his wheelchair so that way it is down stairs when he needs it. We then figure out what has to be done for the day. We squeeze in his PT and OT thorughout the day so I can now add those to my medical resume!
Chaz stays on the bottom level all day and jumps to the couch if he needs to take a nap or just to stretch out. De or Ry get his afternoon meds for him and help me make sure he has everything he needs. Around 8 or 9 we get ready to make the journey up. The girls help me put his legs back on, if they're not already on, and then they help me gather anything he may need to go up with him. The girls usually race to the top of the stairs to watch him walk up and I walk up right behind him to ensure he doesn't lose his balance. My two cute assistants help me get Chaz's bedtime meds and the wound care supplies. Then we all pile up in the bed and watch TV and snuggle.
Let me assure you, everything we have to do is not fun, but we make it as fun as possible. Chaz and I truly enjoy that De likes to show her Daddy off. The other day she told her friend, "Look at my Dad walk down the stairs, isn't he so great at it?" He and I highly enjoyed that one. We are very happy that the girls are making the best out of this too. We involve them in as much as possible and they enjoy being Daddy's little nurses.
Have a great day!
=) Jessica

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Team Allen Fundraiser Video

Chaz's Homecoming

June 5, 2011 at 8:49am
So how was our day, absolutely amazing that's how!!!!!!
We got up and moving at the Fisher House, of course I was still pumped from the NKOTBSB concert the night before. I think I had maybe 5 hours of sleep. I felt like a kid at Christmas. I knew we were so close to upwrapping the present and I just wanted to rip the paper off. MSGT Barnes drove with us to the airport. Rideaway was kind enough to allow me to keep the rental van until yesterday. We were able to drive staright up to the plane and load up. Then Barnes took the van back for us and we were off. Our amazing pilots, Bob and Brian, made sure we were more than comfortable. And we were off!
Since everyone wanted to know how the plane ride was, Here's how nice, Chaz and Deryn slept for most of it. Ryann and I rocked out to my ipad and she played angry birds and I attempted to get more of Sookie #11 read. Before I knew it we were 15 minutes out. I thought I was going to blow it at that point. Here I was holding this awesome surprise and trying to play it all off. I remained calm until Deryn looks at me and says, "Mom, I have to go to the bathroom." Within moments, Ryann chimes in too. Since there was no bathroom on the plane, they had to wait!
The plane touched down and I hear Chaz say, "Wow there's a lot of cars. How many planes come in and out of here?" I tunred and said "It's not for the planes, it for you." At that point, I started to choke up, so I had to take a moment. The plane turned and we got a much better view of the crowd. It was such a beautiful site! All these people with their flags and banners were there for my awesome hubby. But unfortunately I had another mission to accomplish. As soon as Brian, got the door open the girls and I bolted for the bathroom. My hubby was so anxious he did not wait for the girls and I to return. So we missed the actual moment of him coming off the plane, but thanks to channel 2, 4 and 5 we got to see it again and again!

My awesome hubby was greeted by our parents, his sister, my brother and the good Lord only knows how many friends, soldiers and other people who wanted to be there. It was incredible to walk with him and our girls through that Patriot Guard line. I saw so many faces and waved and hugged so many people. My goodness it was just amazing. It is so hard to put into words. Yesterday was one of the greatest days of my life. I personally loved it when Chaz said, "I didn't know my wife had this many friends." I knew then he was ok with all of it. As I stood by him and listened to his voice I could hear the appreciation he had for every person there.
Of course the news stopped him and I possibly upset one of them because I cut them off because Chaz needed to get inside. Once we got him out the heat, I got to bring in one of the pilots who flew Chaz out of Zhari and into Kandahar. That was a pretty awesome moment! Nothing like being able to thank and hug a person who made it possible for your hubby to be home. We enjoyed a few moments with him and with our family and some friends.
We then got to load up in my Trevy and we were escorted home by the Clarksville Police Dept and the Patriot Guard riders. One thing is for sure, the neighborhood knew we were home! It was amazing to look in our rear view mirror and see (what seemed like a neverending) the line of bikers riding behind us. Chaz and I both were wondering how many people thought it was a funeral procession. I have only seen something that awesome under those circumstances. It was amazing to be a part of this.

The riders and followers all lined the street around our house. We pulled into a neighborhood decorated in Chaz's honor. Little American flags lined the paths leading into our neighborhood. An American flag, banner, balloons and several smaller flags decorated our yard. We got to see Chaz's ramp for the first time. And Chaz got to set his eyes on our home for the first time. He was pleased to see the grass was cut. Hilarious, isn't it?!
We got out the car and the girls were off to see their friends. Which I just laughed and said, "Well honey, your home and the girls are off and running. It doens't get more normal than that." We visited with everyone for a bit then we thanked them all and retreated inside to enjoy our families. Another one of my favorite moments was when someone said what do what to eat? Chaz says "Beans, taters and cornbread!" Little did he know my mom had come to our house and made it that morning and had it waiting on him! He was thrilled to find out!

Yesterday was a truly amazing day that we will always be extremely thankful for. Thank you to all of your for your support, planning, cheering and for your emails, messages, texts, smiles, hugs and hand shakes. You have no idea how much I appreciate everyone of you helping me pull of the surprise of a lifetime. You all made it better than I ever imagined. Demetria Hale and Nick Steward thank you for being my partners in crime! Tony and Sarah Quatrone thank you for bringing your friends along! Thanks to Angela Edwards and her crew for getting the house welcome ready. Also a big thanks to Jason and the Valentino's crew, Mark from Opertation Troop Aid and Tish from the Fisher Foundation, and CSM St Louis and General Colt from the 101st for rallying addtional support! Thank you just doesn't seem like enough, but I know you all helped for the sheer joy of helping. You all mean so much to us and we are eternally grateful!
Now I am off to get ready for another amazing day for Team Allen!!!!!!!!
God Bless you all and thank you, thank you for all of your support!
=) Jessica

Here is some video from Chaz's Surprise Homecoming!

{Part 1}

{Part 2}

Friday, June 3, 2011


Why do we have to look at everything with such negativity? Are we really such a cynical society that we have to ridicule and criticize everything. Why is so hard to believe Chaz, the girls and I are doing so well? Why does everyone keep looking for the bottom to fall out? Why is it so hard to accept that we have accepted what life has given us?

This whole thing is so simple. We are so happy that Chaz is still with us. We grow from that joy. It is that simple, folks. Hope, love and joy grow from the simplest seeds. We are smiling and happy because we have so much to be grateful for. Why do people feel like we need to drown in sorrow? Ok we get it, he has no legs below the knee and his arm may be permanently fused. That is no reason to walk around all pitiful and mopey. We have the most important parts. We have Chaz's spirit, memory and heart. We can heal with that alone. The legs are being replaced. We will deal with the arm when the time is right. God has great things in store for us. He has already revealed some of them and there will be more we know it. He has the right people set on this journey to help guide us through. We have enough faith, hope and love to get through this journey. We are set for a path of success.

Yes we are perfectly aware that our road is very long and difficult. But we chose to face it head on with smile on our faces. Chaz, our girls and I are a powerful team and with our gazillion cheerleaders, we will leave a everlasting footprint behind. So those of you who don't understand, please just stop trying. Just smile and move on, we have. God will help you understand one day. In the meantime, keep you pessimism to yourself. This is a no-negative, no-pity, happy tears only team here. We are going to great places. Only those with the right attitude need to join us!

Have a great day!!! If you don't do anything else smile at someone today! They may need it!
=) Jessica

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Get Ready For More!!

I just love this one!!!


“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back...”
(Isaiah 54:2, NIV)

TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria
God has greater blessings in store for you! He has favor in your future like you’ve never imagined. He wants to take you places that you’ve never dreamed. But in order for us to partake of all these blessings, we have to increase our capacity to receive.
Think about this: if you have a one-gallon bucket, and someone has fifty gallons to give you, the problem is not with the supply. The problem is that you don’t have the capacity to receive the fifty gallons. But if you get rid of that small container and get something larger, then you will be able to receive more. It’s the same way with God. If we think we’ve reached our limits, the problem isn’t that God doesn’t have the resources or the ability. The problem is that our container is too small. We have to enlarge our vision and make room for the new things God has for us. Our attitude should be, “Even though the economy is down, I know God is still on the throne. I know wherever I go His goodness and mercy follow me.” When you have that kind of attitude, you’re increasing your capacity to receive so that you can live the abundant life He has in store for you.

Father in heaven, today I choose to increase my capacity to receive from You. I let go of limited thinking and old mindsets and open myself to everything You have in store for me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
— Joel & Victoria Osteen

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Our Weekend!!

Alright here's what Chaz knows! He knows we are landing in Outlaw Field. He knows our families are going to be there and Demetria will be there snapping pics and Nick Steward will be there to welcome him for the city of Clarksville. Also we've charged Nick with the task of helping our parents get to the field on time. And that's it!!!!! The man is clueless, he he he!!! Last weekend I got to help surprise him with his computer and this weekend I get to surprise him with this!!! He may never trust me again after this weekend! ;)

I cannot wait to land! This is going to be one of the most exciting days of our lives. I cannot wait for our little girls to see how many people are there to support their Daddy. This will be a memory they will carry for the rest of their lives. They will know what community is all about. We have always tried to instill the value of giving and supporting your community through our actions. I believe this will top anything Chaz and I could tell them about. We all know that actions speak so much louder than words. The community support we are receiving will not only teach this lesson to our girls, but to the other children and even adults.

I could just burst with pride from all the people who are supporting our family. It is so amazing! We never knew how many lives we touched until this happened. The support is what continues to drive us forward everyday. This experience could be absolutely horrible, but instead we have hundreds of cheerleaders routing us on. So we get up everyday and just keep pushing forward towards our goal.

Saturday will mark another big milestone for us. Finally Chaz gets to be in his home and in his bed and enjoy some calm and quiet. I know I am looking forward to having the three people I love the most in our home so I can cook in my kitchen and have meals at our table for almost 30 days. We do not know when we'll get to return to TN so we are going to enjoy our time at home. We know the month will fly by. One of the first few days of July, we will return to DC and see what other check points Chaz needs to meet for us to go home for good.

On Sunday we will travel to Nashville to attend the fundraiser. This fundraiser is simply amazing!! How did this man, Jason Conner, who we don't know make all this happen for us?! It is just incredible. Jason got to us through my friend Jeanne, who works at the girls' school. That's how we are connected. But we have never met him, never shook his hand, might not be able to identify him in a line up (as of today, that all changes Saturday). He just heard about our need and then just ran with it. He has thrown everything he has into this for us and it is simply amazing! The words "Thank you" will never be enough. What an incredible person he is?! We are so thankful for his passion and drive to help us through this.

I could seriously write all day about the incredible people who have been amazing. But my biggest fear is that I would leave someone out. I know you are all supporting us out of pure love and pride. We are so thankful for you all. I know you are all like me. You do not do what you are doing for a pat on the back. You do it, because it is what needs to be done. That is probably what we appreciate the most. You guys are amazing!

Thank you for making our first weekend home absolutely amazing!!! I cannot wait!! I bet I won't sleep at all Friday night! This is like every holiday rolled into one with a gigantic bow on it just waiting for us to rip it open! Can you burst from joy?! I guess I'll find out?!
Have a great day!!!
=) Jessica